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The Patent Description data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20110034266 , Golf club with removable components
CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
The present application is a continuation application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/208,137, filed on Sep. 10, 2008, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/972,132, filed on Sep. 13, 2007, now abandoned, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entireties.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a golf club having an improved connection for interchanging components.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
2. Description of the Related Art
In order to improve their game, golfers often customize their equipment to fit their particular swing. Golf equipment manufacturers have responded by increasing the variety of clubs available to golfers. For example, a particular model of a driver-type golf club may be offered in several different loft angles and lie angles to suit a particular golfer's needs. In addition, golfers can choose shafts, whether metal or graphite, and adjust the length of the shaft to suit their swing. Golf clubs that allow shaft and club head components to be easily interchanged facilitate this customization process.
One example is Wheeler, U.S. Pat. No. 3,524,646 for a Golf Club Assembly. The Wheeler patent discloses a putter having a grip and a putter head, both of which are detachable from a shaft. Fastening members, provided on the upper and lower ends of the shaft, have internal threads, which engage the external threads provided on both the lower end of the grip and the upper end of the putter head shank to secure these components to the shaft. The lower portion of the shaft further includes a flange, which contacts the upper end of the putter head shank, when the putter head is coupled to the shaft.
Another example is Walker, U.S. Pat. No. 5,433,442 for Golf Clubs with Quick Release Heads. The Walker patent discloses a golf club in which the club head is secured to the shaft by a coupling rod and a quick release pin. The upper end of the coupling rod has external threads that and engage the internal threads formed in the lower portion of the shaft. The lower end of the coupling rod, which is inserted into the hosel of the club head, has diametric apertures that align with diametric apertures in the hosel to receive the quick release pin.
Still another example is Roark, U.S. Pat. No. 6,547,673 for an Interchangeable Golf Club Head and Adjustable Handle System. The Roark patent discloses a golf club with a quick release for detaching a club head from a shaft. The quick release is a two-piece connector including a lower connector, which is secured in the hosel of the club head, and an upper connector, which is secured in the lower portion of the shaft. The upper connector has a pin and a ball catch that protrude radially outward from the lower end of the upper connector. The upper end of the lower connector has a slot formed therein for receiving the upper connector pin, and a separate hole for receiving the ball catch. When the shaft is coupled to the club head, the lower connector hole retains the ball catch to secure the shaft to the club head.
Two further examples are published applications to Burrows, U.S. Pub. Nos. 2004/0018886 and 2004/0018887, both of which are for a Temporary Golf Club Shaft-Component Connection. The Burrows applications disclose a temporary connection that includes an adapter insert, a socket member, and a mechanical fastener. The adapter insert, which is mounted on a shaft, includes a thrust flange. The socket member, which is mounted on the other golf club component (e.g., a club head), includes a thrust seat for seated reception of the thrust flange. The mechanical fastener (e.g., a compression nut or a lock bolt) removably interconnects the adapter insert and the socket member.
The prior art temporary head-shaft connections have several disadvantages. These connections typically add excessive weight to the club head, which affects the playability characteristics of the golf club. A change in the overall weight of a golf club alters the center of gravity and moments of inertias of the club head. Thus, a golf club with a shaft permanently affixed to a club head would have inherently different characteristics than a trial golf club that uses a prior art temporary connection to combine the same shaft and club head. In addition, many of these prior art connections are cumbersome to use. Some designs require the connection device to be accessed from the bottom of the club head, others from the top, with different tools and procedures for each.
The present invention provides an improved club head-shaft connection that couples golf club heads and shafts in a manner that does not adversely affect the playability of the resulting golf club. The hosel of the club head is itself provided with a threaded portion and a rotation prevention portion. Therefore, fewer components are required for assembly, which reduces the overall weight of the connection and enables more discretionary weight to be distributed elsewhere in the club head.
In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, a golf club having removable components includes a club head, a shaft, and a connection assembly. The club head includes a body having a hosel. The hosel includes an upper treaded portion and a lower portion. The upper threaded portion of the hosel has a plurality of threads, which provide the upper threaded portion with a threaded cross-section. The lower portion of the hosel has a multi-faceted cross-section. The shaft has a tip end and a butt end. The connection assembly includes a sleeve mounted on the tip end of the shaft and a screw-cap. The sleeve has a body that includes a top section and a lower section. The lower section has a multi-faceted surface for engaging the lower portion of the hosel. The sleeve further includes an aperture for receiving the tip end of the shaft. The screw-cap has a body with a central aperture. The screw cap is mounted over the sleeve. The screw-cap body has an upper area and a threaded area, the latter of which capable of engaging the upper threaded portion of the hosel of the club head for removably securing the shaft to the club head.
In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, a golf club has a club head that includes a face cup and an aft-body. The face cup comprised of a metal material and including a striking face and a hosel. The hosel having an upper threaded portion and a lower portion. The upper threaded portion of the hosel has a plurality of threads thereon. The lower portion has a tapered, faceted cross-section. The golf club further includes a connection assembly comprising a sleeve and a screw-cap. The sleeve, which is mounted on the tip end of a shaft, includes a body having a top section and a lower section. The lower section of the sleeve has a tapered, multi-faceted surface for engaging the lower portion of the hosel. The sleeve further includes an aperture for receiving the tip end of the shaft. The screw-cap includes a body with a central aperture, the screw cap mounted over the sleeve, the body of the screw-cap having an upper area and a threaded area, the threaded area capable of engaging the upper threaded portion of the hosel of the club head for removably securing the shaft to the club head.
In a preferred embodiment, the lower section of the sleeve has three faceted surfaces. Once fully inserted into the hosel, the three sides of the sleeve will make contact with three mating surfaces designed in the lower portion of the hosel. Three sides are preferred to stop rotation both axially and around a pivot axis that is created when fewer than three contact points are achieved. When the screw-cap is tightened down on the sleeve, the screw-cap forces the multi-faceted lower section of the sleeve against the mating contact surfaces of the lower portion of the hosel of the golf club head, and all rotation is mechanically prohibited. This is superior to spline contact between the splines of a sleeve and those of a golf club head hosel, because there exists a small amount of axial slippage distance between the two splined surfaces. In addition, not having to machine the splines into the golf club head hosel provides cost savings.
Having briefly described the present invention, the above and further objects, features and advantages thereof will be recognized by those skilled in the pertinent art from the following detailed description of the invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
As shown in , a golf club is generally designated . Golf club has a club head and a shaft that is coupled to club head . Club head is preferably a wood-type golf club head, such as a driver, a fairway wood, or even a hybrid iron-wood-type club, but may also be an iron-type club head. Club head includes a body having a striking face , a crown portion , a sole portion , a heel end and a toe end . Striking face generally extends along the front of club head from heel end to toe end .
Body is preferably composed of a metallic material, such as titanium, titanium alloy, stainless steel, or the like. Alternatively, body may be composed of multiple materials, such as a metal face cup attached to an aft-body composed of a different material, such as a carbon composite material, or a stainless steel body with a carbon composite crown. Body preferably has a hollow interior and includes a hosel for receiving shaft . Where body is comprised of a cup face and an aft-body, hosel is provided in cup face . Hosel is preferably an internal hosel that extends into body with an opening in crown portion . Alternatively, club head may be provided with an external hosel (not shown) rather than an internal one.
Shaft is preferably composed of a graphite material, however, it may be composed of a metallic material, such as stainless steel or titanium. Alternatively, shaft may be composed of a hybrid of graphite and metal. Shaft is coupled to club head using a connection assembly that provides for easy assembly, disassembly and reassembly, thereby facilitating customization of golf club .
The connection assembly preferably comprises a sleeve and a screw-cap . Connection assembly cooperates with hosel of club head to secure shaft to club head . Sleeve is mounted on a tip end of shaft . Shaft with sleeve mounted thereon is then inserted in hosel of club head . Screw-cap secures sleeve to hosel to retain shaft in connection with club head .
As best illustrated in , hosel is preferably integrally formed with the body of club head . For example, club head including hosel may be cast of a suitable metal material, such as titanium alloys, steel alloys, magnesium and aluminum. Hosel preferably has a main opening for receiving a portion of sleeve and shaft . Main opening preferably has a depth Lof at least 1.000 inch, for example 1.065 inch. Hosel includes an upper threaded portion and a lower portion .
Upper threaded portion includes a plurality of threads , which provide upper threaded portion with a threaded cross-section. As best illustrated in , upper threaded portion preferably has a length Lin the range of 0.350 inch to 0.500 inch. The diameter Dat a top end of upper threaded portion is preferably 0.580 inch. The plurality of threads provided in upper threaded portion preferably includes between one and ten threads, and more preferably between three and eight threads. In one embodiment of the invention, there are five threads in upper threaded portion . Threads preferably have a pitch in the range of six and thirty-two, more preferably between eighteen and twenty-eight, and even more preferably between twenty-four and twenty-eight. Threads preferably have a pitch diameter PD in the range of 0.250 inch to 0.750 inch, more preferably in the range of 0.420 inch to 0.630 inch, and even more preferably between 0.530 inch and 0.570 inch.
Lower portion of hosel has a faceted cross-section, which is best illustrated in . In a preferred embodiment of the invention, lower portion has at least three facets, planar surfaces , with a curved region provided between adjacent planar surfaces . In addition, lower portion tapers from proximate upper threaded portion to the bottom of hosel . By way of example, lower portion may taper from a diameter of 0.517 inch proximate upper threaded portion to a diameter Dof 0.312 inch proximate its bottom end. The taper of lower portion ensures a snug fit between sleeve and hosel , when shaft is fully secured to club head .
Sleeve , which is best illustrated in , has an aperture formed in an upper end thereof for receiving tip end of shaft . Sleeve is fixedly secured to shaft using an adhesive, such as epoxy. Sleeve is preferably comprised of a metal material, such as titanium alloys and aluminum alloys.
Sleeve , which preferably has an overall length Lof at least 1.500 inches, includes a body having a top section and a lower section . Top section has an aperture formed therein. Aperture has a diameter Dthat complements the outer diameter of tip end of shaft . Depth Lof aperture is preferably sufficient to receive at least 1.000 inch of tip end of shaft. In one embodiment of the invention, depth Lis approximately 1.126 inches.
Lower section of sleeve has a multi-faceted exterior surface for engaging lower portion of hosel . In one embodiment of the invention best illustrated in , lower portion has a pseudo-triangular cross-section with least three outer, planar surfaces , which will make contact with respective planar surfaces of hosel . Regions between the planar surfaces are curved. At least three sides are preferred to stop rotation, both axially and about a pivot axis that is created when there are fewer than three contact points. Lower section of sleeve is preferably slightly tapered to provide a snug fit in hosel . Lower section has a length Lpreferably in the range of 0.375 inch to 0.525 inch to provide sufficient contact surface area. When the screw-cap is tightened down on the sleeve, the screw-cap forces the multi-faceted lower section of the sleeve against the mating contact surfaces of the lower portion of the hosel of the golf club head, and all rotation is mechanically prohibited. Lower section of sleeve may be further provided with an opening formed therein to remove excess weight from sleeve .
Screw-cap , illustrated in , is preferably comprised of a lightweight metal material, such as a titanium alloy or an aluminum alloy. Screw-cap includes a body having a central aperture . Screw-cap is mounted onto shaft over sleeve . Screw cap includes an upper area and a threaded area . Threaded area is provided with a plurality of threads , which engage threads of upper threaded portion of hosel to secure shaft to club head .
As illustrated in , connection assembly may further include a locking ring and a ferrule . Locking ring , shown in and , is preferably a thin metal ring having a thickness T in the range of 0.025 inch to 0.035 inch. Locking ring is mounted in an annular groove () formed in top section of sleeve . Locking ring retains screw-cap loosely on sleeve and prevents screw-cap from completely separating from hosel of club head .
Ferrule , shown separately in and , is preferably positioned on shaft above the top section of sleeve . Ferrule , which may be composed of a lightweight, thermoplastic material, includes a body having a main aperture for receiving shaft . Ferrule may further include a plurality of ribs formed on its inside surface for aligning ferrule on shaft
Golf club is preferably assembled by placing ferrule , screw-cap , locking ring and sleeve over tip end of shaft . Sleeve is secured to shaft by an adhesive, such as epoxy. Tip end of shaft , with sleeve affixed therein, is then inserted into hosel of club head . The tapered multi-faceted surface of lower section of sleeve engages with lower portion of hosel . Next, screw-cap is slid along tip end of shaft , such that its threads engage threads of upper threaded portion of hosel . A special tool (not shown) may be provided to ensure that screw-cap is properly tightened with the correct amount of torque. When screw-cap is fully tightened to upper threaded portion of hosel , the lower end of screw-cap seats on a ledge of sleeve to prevent sleeve , and therefore shaft , from separating from club head . Locking ring may then be placed in annular groove of sleeve to prevent screw-cap from fully disengaging from hosel . Ferrule is then secured onto shaft and top section of sleeve just above screw-cap .
In addition to locking ring , a compressible polymeric material may be provided on some or all of the threads of screw-cap . Alternatively, the polymeric material may be applied to threads of hosel . When mating threads and of hosel and screw-cap , respectively, are engaged, the polymeric material is compressed and a counterforce is created. This counterforce creates a stronger contact between the threads of the two components and creates a positive resistance to vibration and loosening. One such material is Nylok available from Nylok Corporation. show various configurations of Nylok material on screw-cap . In , a patch of Nylok material may be coated over one or more threads of screw-cap . Patch may have a height in the range of 0.01 inch to 0.5 inch, more preferably in the range of 0.04 inch to 0.3 inch, and even more preferably in the range of 0.1 inch to 0.2 inch. Patch preferably covers between one-half and ten threads , and more preferably between one and five threads . Patch may extend completely about one or more threads of screw-cap or only a portion thereof. For example, patch may extend anywhere between 30° and 360° about screw-cap . The thickness of patch is preferably between 0.005 inch to 0.050 inch.
In a strip of Nylok material is coated across multiple threads of screw-cap . Strip may have a height in the range of 0.01 inch to 0.5 inch, more preferably in the range of 0.04 inch to 0.3 inch, and even more preferably in the range of 0.1 inch to 0.2 inch. The width of strip may be between 0.01 inch and 0.2 inch, more preferably between 0.02 inch and 0.1 inch. Strip preferably has a thickness of 0.03 to 0.15 inch.
From the foregoing it is believed that those skilled in the pertinent art will recognize the meritorious advancement of this invention and will readily understand that while the present invention has been described in association with a preferred embodiment thereof, and other embodiments illustrated in the accompanying drawings, numerous changes, modifications and substitutions of equivalents may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention which is intended to be unlimited by the foregoing except as may appear in the following appended claims. Therefore, the embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined in the following appended claims.